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Will Donald Rise To Super Bowl Occasion For Rams?

January 28, 2019

The Super Bowl LIII is upon us and the Los Angeles Rams will take on the New England Patriots in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Rams advanced in slightly fortuitous circumstances in the NFC Championship Game. Sean McVay’s side battled back from a 13-point deficit to tie their contest against the New Orleans Saints on the road. However, Drew Brees had manoeuvred the Saints into position to regain the lead with a touchdown or a field goal.

Brees threw a pass down the sideline for a wide open Tommylee Lewis, only for the wideout to be clattered by Nickell Robey-Coleman. It was a clear case of pass interference or a hit to a defenceless receiver, but the officials did not throw a flag. A penalty would have allowed New Orleans to take the clock down before kicking a field goal giving the Rams next to no hope of driving back.

The decision gave the Rams time to level the scores through a Greg Zuerlein field goal before a mistake by Brees, handed McVay’s men the chance to secure their Super Bowl berth. Zuerlein launched a 57-yarder through the posts to send his team to Atlanta.

Los Angeles now face off against the Patriots, who return to the Super Bowl after being beaten last season by the Philadelphia Eagles. Brandon Graham proved that one play can make the difference when he strip-sacked Tom Brady to all-but win the game for the Eagles. We’ll now look at who could make the decisive play for the Rams on Sunday.

Will Donald get to Brady?

Aaron Donald

Donald has been the best defensive player in the NFL for the past two seasons. He appears to be a lock to win the defensive player of the year award for the second year on the bounce. The defensive tackle notched 20.5 sacks over the course of the regular campaign, falling two quarterback takedowns short of the all-time record set by Michael Strahan.

Bill Belichick has stated that Donald is “unblockable”, highlighting his respect for the 27-year-old. Donald rushes from the inside rather than the edge, which brings into focus his level of success. It’s rare that a player can accumulate so many sacks from the inside, speaking to his quality of breaking free through the middle.

However, for all of his dominance, he has been quiet in the post-season, failing to record a sack. Donald has drawn the attention of opposing offensive linemen and will be the focal point for the Patriots. Expect Brady to get the ball out with speed to avoid the pass-rush.

Donald will have to be at his best to sack the Patriots quarterback even once. Back him with 888Sport to record over 0.5 sacks at 8/13 . The 27-year-old could be more important in the run game, stopping Sony Michel. Take Donald to boast over 3.5 tackles in the game at -110  with BetOnline. Los Angeles need him at the peak of his powers to win the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1999 campaign.

Dante Fowler Jr

Fowler made the key play in the game to defeat the Saints, hitting Brees on his throw downfield that was intercepted by John Johnson. The 24-year-old was a mid-season pickup by the Rams, being acquired in a trade deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fowler failed to live up to expectations in his time with the Jaguars.

His first season was over before it began as he suffered a torn ACL in his rookie minicamp. Fowler found his form last season, notching eight sacks on a team that reached the AFC Championship Game. Brady and the Patriots prevented Fowler and the Jaguars reaching the Super Bowl. However, he enact his revenge on the 41-year-old quarterback this time around.

Fowler’s attitude and lack of form resulted in his trade to Los Angeles. The defensive end has not been outstanding since his move, although he has been more active in the playoffs. He will have to pressure Brady in the same way he got to Brees. All the attention will be on Donald and Ndamukong Suh in the middle of the line, creating one-on-one matchups on the outside. Fowler has the speed to get to Brady and could be the Graham of Super Bowl LIII. Back him to record at least one sack at odds of 7/4  with 888Sport.

Aqib Talib

Talib moved to the Rams in the off-season in a trade deal after spending four years with the Denver Broncos. The 32-year-old linked up with Wade Phillips, who had been his defensive coordinator with the Broncos before his switch to Los Angeles in 2017. Talib missed half of the regular season after suffering an ankle injury.

The Rams’ defense suffered as a result of the cornerback’s absence, failing to keep points off the board. Talib’s return coincided with an improvement as he locked up with Los Angeles opponents’ number one wideouts. His size and strength make him a formidable opponent, although his speed is not what it was during the prime years of his career. Talib is still an elite cornerback and has the ability to make game-changing plays.

The Patriots and Brady know all about his talent given that he was a member of the team between 2012 and 2013. They played against him for four seasons when he was a member of the Broncos. Talib has one interception this term, although he has been tested by excellent wideouts on a regular basis.

His ability to play strong against the run could be just as important as his ball skills. Back him to defend over 1.5 passes at +250  and to record over 4.5 tackles at +110  with BetOnline. His most important play may be an interception, Brady has not been flawless in Super Bowls. Take Talib for a pick at odds of +475  with Bovada.

Tips Summary

Aaron Donald To Record Over 3.5 Tackles Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -110

Aaron Donald To Record Over 0.5 Sacks Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 8/13

Dante Fowler Jr To Record Over 0.5 Sacks Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 7/4

Aqib Talib To Defend Over 1.5 Passes Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +250

Aqib Talib To Record Over 4.5 Tackles Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +110

Aqib Talib To Record One Interception Or Over Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +475

  • Aaron Donald
  • Aqib Talib
  • Dante Fowler Jr
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Super Bowl

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.